In a few states, a dissolution of marriage is not the same as a divorce because the marriage is not permanently ended. Couples can only use dissolution in some states if they agree to it and how to resolve all of their divorce-related issues, such as child support, child custody, alimony, and property division.
In contrast, an annulment effectively nullifies (or erases) a couple’s marriage. Dissolution is not the same as legal separation. A legal separation allows a couple to ask the court to decide on divorce-related issues like child support and spousal support without ending their marriage legally for religious or other reasons. If a court approves a legal separation, the couple is “effectively” divorced, but neither of them can remarry until they file for a dissolution.
In this article, we’ll focus on the more common usage of the term.
How Does a Summary Dissolution Work?
Dissolution cases are sometimes referred to as “summary dissolution,” which is a type of quick divorce in some states. In a summary dissolution, a signed marital settlement agreement addressing child support, custody, property division, and alimony is presented to the court. By presenting the signed divorce agreement to the judge, you both agree to forego a trial or judicial intervention. Couples must meet the state’s summary dissolution requirements to be eligible for this accelerated legal process.
In California, for example, couples who meet the following criteria can use the state’s summary dissolution process:
- Both spouses must meet the state’s residency requirements in order to divorce.
- The legal basis for the request is agreed upon by both spouses (irreconcilable differences).
- Neither spouse is expecting a child, and there are no minor children in the house.
- The couple has been married for less than five years.
- Neither spouse is a property owner (except a current residence)
- In their marriage, the couple has no debts totaling more than $4,000 dollars (excluding an automobile note)
- In terms of community property, the couple owns less than $25,000, and neither spouse owns more than $25,000 in separate property.
- The couple signs a contract that divides their marital assets and debts.
- Neither party has made a spousal support request.
- Both spouses agree to waive their appeal rights, and
- Both partners agree that the marriage should end.
- In states that recognize it, the cost of this type of divorce is significantly less than that of a contested divorce.
Obtaining Legal Counsel
Divorce is difficult on many levels because it involves potentially complex and emotionally charged issues such as child custody and support, property and debt division, and alimony (also known as “spousal support” or “maintenance”), among others.
As a result, couples considering divorce might want to seek legal advice. An experienced family law attorney can explain each of these legal issues, as well as how they might play out in your case. An attorney can also prepare all necessary divorce paperwork and ensure that your rights are fully protected, whether you end up settling all issues with your spouse (outside of court) or going through a full-fledged divorce trial.
Need an Affordable Father’s Rights Attorney in Scottsdale?
The High Desert Family Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation.